This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Measure J
Sales Tax
County of Contra Costa

Two-Thirds Majority

273,606 / 71.1% Yes votes ...... 111,048 / 28.9% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 15 1:28pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (921/921)
82.9% Voter Turnout (418,335/504,505)
Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |


Shall voters approve a Transportation Expenditure Plan to: o Extend and improve the BART system, o Add a Fourth Bore to the Caldecott Tunnel and improve Highway 24, o Widen and improve Interstate 80, 680, and Highway 4, o Maintain and improve local streets and roads, o Improve transit for seniors and disabled persons, and Authorize a 25-year continuation of the local half-cent sales tax to implement the Transportation Expenditure Plan, which shall not increase the current sales tax?

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote of this measure means:
A "yes" vote is to approve Ordinance No. 04-02, including the continuation of the sales tax.

A NO vote of this measure means:
A "no" vote is to disapprove Ordinance No. 04-02, including the continuation of the sales tax.

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel
On August 3, 1988, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority unanimously passed and adopted Ordinance No. 88-01 (the Contra Costa Transportation Improvement and Growth Management Ordinance). The purpose of the ordinance was to impose and collect a retail and transactions tax (sales tax) at the rate of one-half of one-percent (0.5 %) in the incorporated and unincorporated territory of Contra Costa County. As required under the Local Transportation Authority and Improvement Act (Public Utilities Code section 180000 et seq.), the revenues derived from the sales tax may be expended for "for the construction and improvement of state highways, the construction, maintenance, improvement, and operation of local streets, roads, and highways, and the construction, improvement, and operation of public transit systems." Ordinance No. 88-01 was approved by voters on November 8, 1988, and became operative on April 1, 1989. The imposition of the sales tax is currently set to expire on March 31, 2009. Under the Act, a sales tax may be continued in effect if a county transportation authority adopts a tax ordinance by two-thirds vote and the imposition of the tax is later approved by county electors voting on the measure at an election. On May 26, 2004, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority unanimously passed and adopted Ordinance No. 04-02, which amends Ordinance No. 88-01 and continues the existing half-cent sales tax, subject to voter approval. The sales tax would continue for an additional twenty-five years, starting on April 1, 2009 and continuing through March 31, 2034.

If this measure is approved by the voters, the revenues derived from the half-cent sales tax will be expended for the transportation projects and programs set forth in the Contra Costa Transportation Authority's adopted transportation expenditure plan ("TEP"). The Contra Costa Transportation Authority has adopted a new TEP (included in the voter information handbook) to supplement the original 1988 TEP. The new TEP sets forth transportation projects and programs, including extending and improving the BART system, adding a fourth bore to the Caldecott Tunnel and improving Highway 24, widening and improving Interstates 80 and 680 and Highway 4, maintaining and improving local streets and roads, and improving transit for seniors and disabled persons. If approved by the voters, the TEP will become effective on April 1, 2005. This measure seeks voter approval of the amendment of Ordinance No. 88-01, the continuance of the existing sales tax, and the implementation of the new TEP.

Two-thirds of those voting on the measure must approve the measure in order for it to pass.

A "yes" vote is to approve Ordinance No. 04-02, including the continuation of the sales tax.

A "no" vote is to disapprove Ordinance No. 04-02, including the continuation of the sales tax.

Suggest a link related to Measure J
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure J Arguments Against Measure J
Vote YES on Measure J for comprehensive transportation solutions to traffic and congestion in Contra Costa County. Passage of Measure J authorizes an expenditure plan to relieve congestion in every major commute corridor in Contra Costa County, providing a balance of road improvements and mass transit solutions to manage our traffic problems. Measure J will help us address the transportation demands facing our County. Measure J identifies five regional transportation priorities for Contra Costa County:

1. Fix aging highways and build the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. Major new projects will improve interchanges, open new lanes-- including a fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel on Highway 24-- and improve Interstates 80, 680 and Highway 4.

2. Maintain and improve local streets and roads. The current plan provides critical funds to every city in Contra Costa County for maintenance of local streets and roads. The new plan will continue to fund these activities, repaving streets, filling potholes, and upgrading local transportation infrastructure.

3. Expand BART and transit programs that have a demonstrated ability to get people out of their cars. These include substantial new expansions and improvements to the BART system and express and feeder bus services.

4. Special transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities. The plan significantly increases funds to serve people with special transportation needs and our community's growing senior population.

5. Improve bike and pedestrian safety. The plan reduces hazards and maximizes safety by funding improvements in bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Measure J was created through a two year public planning process that solicited input from citizens throughout Contra Costa County. It reflects a consensus, drawing support from environmental, social justice, taxpayer, and transit advocates; union members and business interests; all nineteen cities; and unanimous support from the Board of Supervisors. For more information, please visit our website Vote YES on Measure J.

Senator Tom Torlakson

Richard Rainey, Retired Sheriff and Former State Senator

Amy Worth, Chair, Contra Costa Transportation Authority

Federal Glover, Chair, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors

Beverly W. Lane, Director, East Bay Regional Park District

Rebuttal to Arguments For
VOTE NO ON MEASURE J. Informed environmentalists, taxpayer organizations, and community activists oppose this Measure C sales-tax renewal. Measure J would NOT reduce traffic congestion + despite $2 Billion in new spending + because additional traffic will outpace improvements.

LONG COMMUTES REMAIN. Contra Costa's average commute became sixth worst among America's 3,142 counties (2000 Census) + and Contra Costa's Transportation Authority admits that in the past two years alone, "congestion has increased almost 20%." Yet CCTA's tax-funded promotional materials for Measure J misleadingly show nearly empty roads!

MEASURE C HASN'T WORKED. Why not? o Measure C (voter-approved in 1988) promised to "assure that new growth pays for the facilities required to meet the demands resulting from that growth." Didn't happen. o Jurisdictions with new development were to meet minimum standards. Again, didn't happen.

DON'T TRUST THE POLITICIANS. They've dodged Measure C's promises for 15 years. Now, they seek endorsement of their irresponsibility. Your "NO" vote on Measure J holds them accountable.

MEASURE J FAILS TO FULLY FUND KEY PROJECT AREAS + and Bay Bridge funding fiascos demonstrate the unreliability of state-match money. Measure J would not make buses a viable transportation alternative. And as conceived, the Caldecott Tunnel project would improve only reverse commutes + e.g., weekday-morning traffic INTO Contra Costa County.

MEASURE C WON'T EXPIRE UNTIL 2009. Contra Costa's transportation plan should reasonably balance highways, local streets, public transit, positive trip-reduction incentives, quality of life, and a healthy economy. Given Measure C's/Measure J's high cost, there's time enough to plan genuine solutions for Contra Costa's transportation problems.


More information: (925-939-9993) (925-930-2825)

Ed Dimmick + Measure C Co-Author

East Bay League of Former Mayor

Walnut Creek Conservation Voters Kathleen C. Nimr

Director Diablo Greens Gregory J. Schneider

Jeanne-Marie Rosenmeier, Treasurer Friends of Sycamore Valley, Founding Director

LESS THAN 50% OF MEASURE J FUNDS ROADS, OUR GREATEST TRANSPORTATION NEED. Despite many Billions in new transit subsidies [including Measure J], automobiles will still provide 82% of Bay Area trips in 2025, transit just 6% [MTC, 2001].


o Strings attached: 90% ($360 Million) of Measure J's "return-to-source" street-maintenance funds require surrendering your community's autonomy to county bureaucrats and complex decrees dictating even housing policy.

o eBART evasions: even with Measure J, "eBART would still need $107 million" to reach Brentwood and Byron + and likely impose high-density housing (Contra Costa Times, 10/11/03).

o Fourth-bore and Highway 4 runarounds: these projects need full $430 Million funding. Measure J makes them partially-funded excuses for other spending. CONTRA COSTA'S EXISTING TRANSPORTATION SALES TAX (MEASURE C) DOESN'T EXPIRE UNTIL 2009. Authorizing $2.02 Billion in new taxes now is imprudent and unnecessary.

o Taxpayers should weigh genuine 2008-09 transportation needs against tax burdens then, not prematurely lock in 25 years of new spending now. November 2 marks the fourth tax election this year for many Contra Costans. More bond schemes, parcel taxes, higher gasoline taxes, and another bridge-toll increase are already under discussion.

o Exhausted, overtaxed commuters should require better utilization of existing transportation tax dollars. Proposition 42, California's "Transportation Congestion Improvement Act" (2002), was supposed to dedicate gasoline sales-tax revenues to transportation needs. Instead, escape clauses have diverted Billions elsewhere.

o Only 11.2% of the Billions in new bridge-toll dollars (promoted as "traffic relief" and approved as Regional Measure 2 last March) affect roads and bridges. RM2 provides $700 Million for ferries + twice what highways get + and now, Measure J hands ferries another $45 Million!



Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers Citizens for Responsible Government Kenneth E. Hambrick, Chairman

Kenneth Arras, Chairman East Bay Libertarian Party

Lafayette Taxpayers Association Scott Wilson, Contra Costa Chairman

Donald Lively, Spokesman Save El Sobrante

Marilynne L Mellander, Coordinator

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The original transportation measure has been instrumental in funding the widening of Highway 4, BART extensions, the expansion of our highways, interchange improvements, and the building of the Richmond Parkway + none of this would have happened without this important measure. Now we have an opportunity to renew this vital transportation improvement measure and it can be done without increasing taxes.

Waiting means more delays, with greater costs, while renewing now will ensure:

_ A 4th Bore for the Caldecott Tunnel
_ Widening and improving Highways 4, 80 and 680
_ Money for local street and road maintenance
_ BART service farther into East County
_ Transportation for seniors and those with disabilities

Approving Measure J now will allow the funds raised to be leveraged for additional state and federal money + dollars that would otherwise go elsewhere. Please join the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, and all 19 cities in support of Measure J. We need to get started. It's time to improve our regional roadways. For more information about the plan go to or visit the website at

Please vote YES on Measure J on November 2nd

Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher

Assemblyman Guy Houston

Mark DeSaulnier California Air Resources Boardmember

Contra Costa County Supervisor Maria Alegria

Pinole City Council Member, Contra Costa Transportation Authority Commissioner, California State Automobile Association President and CEO James Pouliot

Contra Costa Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: December 15, 2004 13:29 PST
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.